Marketing to the Caravan Craze: Composting Toilet

 Presenting the MOULE’S PATENT EARTH CLOSET CO., Ld.

Earth ClosetHumanure is not as new of an idea as we are often led to believe.  With the genuine Moules, there are no, bad smells, typhoid OR diphtheria!  That’s quite a bonus.  Well, if it’s good enough for Windsor Castle and Sandringham then it’s good enough for me!

What I find truly fascinating is that we can’t discuss this subject openly.  Certainly wouldn’t have been when and where I grew up.  A close reading of the above handbill does not actually reveal what it is we are talking about here.  Everyone does it, so everyone can figure it out.  Imagine reading something like this as a non-native English speaker.  The beat-around-the-bush lingo would be baffling.  No picture, no real description, just talking about that which cannot be named in polite company; ewww.

If somehow you’re still not sure what we’re talking about here, this should help:

Henry_Moule's_earth_closet,_improved_version_c1875Again… eww.

But seriously, this sanitation unit was probably a huge lifesaver.  Moule began developing the dry-earth system of sanitation after the summer of the “GREAT STINK” in London in 1858.  Oddly enough, a culprit of this mass contamination was the introduction of the flush toilet shortly before.  Overwhelming the ancient sewer systems of London and the surrounding areas.

Adding more water was not the solution to the problem so by 1860 Moule patented what became a widely accepted way to fight disease and water contamination.  Due to it’s efficiency and ease of use the new “Earth Closets” were adopted by hospitals, the British military,  affluent households (including the British monarchy) and throughout British India (a.k.a. the Raj).

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About George Crawford

archaeologist, archer, primitive technologist, and wannabee musician ... mostly
This entry was posted in sanitation, victorian and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Marketing to the Caravan Craze: Composting Toilet

  1. Rita says:

    I did this when I lived in a tiny Airstream and dumped it into a big wooden box where my earthworms lived. I have read not to do this, but the worms loved it.

    I would like now to work this out while being mobile. I have compost-toileted since the 60s but you have to have a place to put it when the bucket is full. I now live in a trailer that is parked, so I think I will just stick the full buckets under the trailer to compost, then use in my moveable plant pots. I eat only organic fruits and veggies and no meat. I have a toilet for visitors.

    If I build something on wheels, I think I can possibly have two porches to hold the plants and worms.

  2. Melanie says:

    Hello! I was wondering where you sourced the image that you used for the Moule’s advertisement with the 1905 patent. I’m interested in using something similar and would love to find the original reference source! Thank you in advance. – Melanie

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